Overall purpose: to provide the opportunity to pursue a PhD in addiction science registered at a UK university and hosted at an appropriate organisation which, in the opinion of the Trustees (or officers with devolved authority), furthers the aims of the SSA. The SSA aims to provide up to two full-time studentships per year.

Profiles of former and current recipients can be viewed here.


No restrictions are placed on the precise topic of proposed PhD study, except that it must address areas which support the aims of the SSA.

Eligibility of applicants 

  • The applicant must be a member or associate of the SSA.
  • Applicants must, for the duration of their supported studies, be UK residents.
  • The institution providing the study must be a UK university.
  • Employees of the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industries are not eligible for the scheme.
  • The PhD candidate must apply personally, declaring the intended institution and supervisor, and providing a letter of acceptance from the university.
  • Applicants being considered for such SSA PhD studentships will be expected already to have achieved a first or upper second class degree in a relevant subject.
  • Co-sponsorship by other bodies will be considered.
  • Students who are already receiving part-funding, and require only fees, stipend or costs are not excluded, and any such request will be considered on its merits.
  • The scheme’s primary purpose is to support those about to begin a PhD in addiction science.
  • There is no preemptive bar on applications submitted part-way through courses.
  • Applications from students studying part-time will be considered.
  • Both the PhD candidate and the supervisor must undertake to report annually to the Executive on the progress and the outcome of the PhD study.
  • In the event that the focus of study changes, no longer having a clear addictions basis, funding by the SSA will cease.
  • The successful candidate must undertake to declare the SSA's support clearly, and agrees to present their work, by invitation, at the Annual Symposium.
  • Requests for ‘one-off’ funding, eg, for an aspect of a research project cannot be considered under the scheme.
  • At present this funding is not available for Clinical Doctorates or PhDs by publication.

Procedure for applications: applications to the PhD studentship scheme will be accepted by e-mail or via the online form, by the closing deadline, 8 March, 2019. A standard format will be provided for the application.

The application must include the following:

(a) a description of the overall objective and purpose of the proposed PhD
(b) an explanation of how it accords with the work and objectives of the SSA
(c) an outline of the expected PhD study plan
(d) a timetable for the PhD
(e) a description of the product or output of the PhD
(f) a copy of the student’s CV
(g) a letter of confirmation of suitability to apply for the bursary, from the academic supervisor at the University
(h) a copy of the letter of confirmation of a PhD place from the University
(i) details of the academic supervisor at the University
(j) details of two academic referees

Timeline for PhD applications

  • PhD application closing date: 8 March 2019
  • Shortlisted candidates selected for interview informed: Late April 2019
  • Interview: 4 June 2019

Process for considering applications

  • The decision whether or not to accept the application for further assessment will be taken by the PhD panel comprising two designated members of the Executive (currently Professor Ann McNeill and Dr Catriona Matheson). Invitations for interview will be sent to shortlisted candidates in April.

Limits of duration of funding

It is anticipated that PhD Studentship funding will be provided for a maximum of three years, six months*, in order not to disadvantage applicants in subsequent years.

*Requests for extension to four years will be considered by the panel in exceptional circumstances on each case’s own merits.

Contractual arrangements

Financial support under an SSA PhD studentship is subject to a contract between the SSA and the host institution. Once funding for a PhD studentship has been discussed and agreed, the SSA will confirm the financial arrangements with the host institution. The SSA will provide the host institution with a contract setting out these arrangements.

Funding provided

For academic year 2018-19, the amount of funding the SSA will make available is as follows: Stipend: £14,777 (outside London)/ £16,777 (inside London); UK indicative fee level: £4,260; Yearly cost: £19,037/£21,037. Additionally, an amount up to a maximum of £1,000 per annum will be made available for additional 'Project Costs'. Any expenditure from this extra budget must be applied for separately on each occasion with itemised detail regarding costings, showing why and how each instance is necessary and relevant to the aims of the Studentship. In the first instance this extra budget is to help cover project costs, but in exceptional circumstances the Studentship panel may agree to it being used to enable attendance at relevant conferences or other networking activities related to a Studentship project, with the requirement that the Student seeks prior approval and must as a minimum present a poster at the event, and ideally be more involved - eg, by giving an oral presentation or organising a workshop. A subsequent report suitable for publishing on the Society's website will be required. This amount is only reimbursed on receipt of invoices and with prior approval that it qualifies as acceptable expenditure. Claim form here.

The institution providing the tuition will put in place governance and supervision structures, and agree to review and report on the recipient’s progress regularly throughout their studies. Funding will only be provided when the PhD panel is happy with the structures and processes the institution will provide.

The host institution will invoice the SSA annually for course fees and quarterly for the stipend element, and will administer the stipend payment to the student monthly in arrears. Funding will only be provided directly to the institution which will be required to invoice the SSA for the relevant amount.

The application form can be downloaded here.


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SSA PhD Studentship Reports

  Student Institution

Year of completion

PhD title

Sarah Fox

Manchester Metropolitan University


'They said if you come you can’t drink. I thought, I can’t stop'. Exploring the journeys to support among women who experience co-occurring substance use and domestic abuse

Helen Crosby

Leeds University


Development of the Brief Addiction Therapist Scale (BATS): A tool for evaluating therapist delivery of psychological therapies for alcohol and drug use problems

Sophie Betka

Brighton and Sussex Medical School


Interoception, Alexithymia and alcohol use: oxytocin, a solution?

Beverly Love

University of Surrey


The cycle of relapse and recovery of substance misusing offenders on a community based Rehabilitation Management Programme: the impact of childhood, trauma, relationships and psychological health

Hannah Rose

King's College London


The impact of alcohol consumption on adolescent neuropsychological development